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Daily Archives: May 13, 2012

Tim & I, Part II

By season’s end, Tim had accomplished what very few QB’s in the history of the NFL had ever done. He led a team that began the season 1-4 to the post season. That only gave him a shot to go up against the best defense in the 2012 playoffs, the Pittsburgh Steelers. This team would surely reveal Tim as the fraud that all of his haters knew he was from the day he was drafted right? Of course not. Tim led the Broncos to an incredible overtime win that was probably the most exciting game of the 2012 playoffs.

What was his reward for the greatest non Super Bowl winning season in the history of the franchise?  A promise was made from the GM for Tim to be the starter on opening day next season for the Broncos. By now we all know that the promise was not kept and Tim was traded to the Jets in order to make room for another future HOF quarterback named Peyton. Peyton is recovering from 4 neck surgeries so the jury is out on whether he will be able to compete and complete games for the Broncos next season. Tim’s fans think, I mean they know, he got a raw deal from the Broncos. But Tim, being the faithful good guy that he is, took the trade in stride and is now happy to be in NYC as a New York Jets’ backup QB.

Funny how the same experts who hated Tim Tebow as the starter in Denver expect him to become the starter in New York. They have gone on record as saying he will kill the Jets’ locker room and stab the current starter, Mark Sanchez, in the back and take his job. Nonsense. Tim Tebow will improve his game and be ready for when his name is called to go in the game and get a W for his team. All he has ever wanted to do from what I’ve seen is help his team win.

Okay, so why did I take you down this “current event” memory lane? Because the parallels between sports and life are sometimes just remarkable. I have seen scenarios like Tim’s play out on TV as well as in real life and usually without a happy ending. Who can forget the Seinfeld episode where Elaine decides to get rid of an unwanted employee by promoting him to an executive position with the firm? The results were predictable in that she pissed off current employees that were more deserving and she got stuck with an incapable employee in a critical position. Her plan was to promote the employee into a job he couldn’t do and hope that he would resign in his frustration. If he didn’t quit soon enough she could fire him for poor performance. Best laid plans seldom work out that way when your intent is a foul smelling outcome. Isn’t that what the Broncos were banking on?

That reminds me of a story about an executive that worked at financial services firm years ago. Of course he started out as just an associate right out of college and the management team didn’t believe he would be successful long term. After all, he was a minority from a working class section of the city and didn’t know many people with money. The firm he worked for on the other hand was quite successful luring affluent clients from all over the metropolitan area for two and a half decades. He was fortunate to at least have a manager who believed in him while the manager’s peers assured the manager that his newest recruit would be out in less than six months.

As time passed this associate began to build a sizable practice and was eventually asked to join the ranks of the management team. He was honored that the same team that had bet against him was now inviting him to join the club. And why not, he was told when he was being recruited that if he worked real hard he could earn six figures in five years time. Well, this particular associate decided to get to that milestone in four years instead which attracted the attention of the executive suite.

Most new management trainees are mentored by the manager who hired them. As luck would have it, this associate’s manager left the company for a competing firm after being passed over for a promotion for the final time. Most expected the new manager trainee to fade from the managerial track but he kept pressing even though he had the built in reason to quit. After all, his biggest fan and mentor was now working for a competing firm. He decided that he was going to fill the shoes of his departed manager so he doubled his efforts.

A short time later history was made when he became the first African American associate to reach the lofty rank of Executive Vice President. This history thing was becoming familiar territory as just one year prior he was the first of his kind to shatter the six figure ceiling at his office. Things were definitely looking grand for this young executive’s future with this international firm.

After only two and a half years into his managerial career, the executive was offered the opportunity to lead an entire office in a major metropolitan city. The normal tenure was five to seven years before an office in a major city was even a consideration for someone with his track record. Again, the young executive was honored to be offered such a prestigious position so soon into his managerial career. He had done well with growing his group but his results were by no means off the charts.

What he did know was that he was the top African American manager at his level in the company. With that ranking he was strongly advised that he needed to step up to that next level as the managers below him were all watching. His decline of the promotion could mean fewer opportunities for those like him around the country and that was made clear to him during his meeting at headquarters. An offer was made but not accepted for several days. The executive was now on the move but he had no clue as to what he had gotten himself into.

Less than a year into his new position, the executive made a startling discovery. The firm that he loved working for since he had graduated college had been sued for racial discrimination. Worst yet it was for discriminating against African Americans. His dream job had now become a nightmare in very short order. What would he do? He just moved his family into their new home and everyone was getting used to their new relocated lives. Who would he tell?

The executive soon got over the blow of the lawsuit and adjusted to the new procedures for bringing on African American associates according to the judge’s Consent Decree (a ruling that would hang over the company for nearly a decade).

As time went on the executive would relocate yet again for an even bigger and better opportunity with an office in the firm’s western division. Today the executive is no longer with the firm. He would later learn that his promotion was part of a plot to aide in the company’s discrimination lawsuit. No one expected him to excel in the role. They just wanted to show the judge that they offered an African American a great role in the company. He would fail as expected and the firm would look like the good guys. It just wasn’t their fault that minorities couldn’t cut it at the executive level of their firm. Sound familiar?

This executive’s firm would not be the first to employ a strategy that gives a promotion to someone that they believe isn’t ready for the role. In short order the hope is that the employee will resign or get poor performance evaluations and get fired. Every now and again the employee steps up and performs at a Tebowesque level but that sadly is the exception and not the rule. That makes this strategy a good one when an employer wants to remove an employee of a particular minority class.

Many current and former black QB’s were upset that Tim Tebow was given the opportunity to start for Denver so young in his career but what they missed was that Tim was not set up for success but instead set up to fail. Fortunately for Tim he saw the chess game unfolding in front of his eyes and made the most of his circumstance. How many people could see that they were being set up to fall and perform at a winning level? Tim was able to do it and so was that financial services executive but believe me they are the exception and not the rule.

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2012 in Business, Life, Sports

 

Tim & I, Part I

One of the biggest events in the world of sports this past NFL season was the Tim Tebow phenomenon that played out in Denver.  I know that “revisionist historians” will change the way things went down so that they will match up with the results but let’s not get it twisted, the only person associated with the Broncos organization that wanted Tim Tebow to be successful was Tim Tebow.  He had a regime change in 2011 in a new coach and a new GM.  His new coach was hired after he was fired by the Carolina Panthers and his new GM was none other than legendary HOFer John Elway.  My point is that neither one of those men chose Tim as the leader of their football team but they had a very big problem…the fans of the mile high city all wanted their QB to be Tim Tebow.

They resisted the urge to start the season off with Tim as their starter hoping that the QB retread in the current position, Kyle Orton, could win games for them and keep the fans that were chanting for Tim off their backs.  After getting off to a putrid 1-4 start it looked like the Broncos were heading for a top choice in the 2012 NFL draft.  That would be okay because if Denver ended up in the worst spot they would have a shot to draft #1 college QB Andrew Luck out of Stanford.  That’s the same college where John Elway played football and then emerged as the #1 pick in the draft.  Hmmm.

Well, this is working out great for the Broncos’ front office but not for their fans.  They want to see their first round choice from the year before take the field and work his magic like he did as a two-time national champion and Heisman Trophy winner at the University of Florida.  So the coach and the GM cook up a plan to give the fans what they want.  They would make Tim Tebow the starter and let their fans see what they were already certain of, that Tim could not win at this level.  When Tim failed as the starter, the Broncos could show the fans that they gave him every chance to be successful.  They could get the first pick in the draft by losing every game in which Tim was the starter and run him out of town all in one fell swoop.  Perfect plan right?

Unfortunately for his detractors, Tim Tebow was more than up to the challenge.  He got off to a 7-1 record as the starter and became the stuff of legends all over the sports talk radio/TV world.  I watched as every Monday every show would bring in so-called experts to tell us that Tim Tebow wasn’t a real NFL quarterback.  He wasn’t real a QB because he didn’t throw the perfect spiral and stand around and surgically pick apart a defense as he marched his team down the field gaining yardage by completing long passes.  The last time I checked the quarterback’s job was to move his team down the field with the end result being points on the scoreboard.  Guess what?  Week in and week out Mr. Tebow found a way to do just that.  In doing so he racked up tons of fans as well as tons of haters.

The arguments against him in my opinion were just stupid.  It wasn’t Tim it was the “stellar Denver defense keeping them in games.”  Where was this vaunted group in weeks 1-5?  “He can’t throw the football.”  Okay, admittedly he is not the world’s greatest passer but the HOFer up in the owner’s box only completed 56.9% of his passes for his career.  No one ever wants to bring that fun fact up but I will.  John Elway completed 56% and 59% of his passes in 1997 and 1998, both of which were Super Bowl championships for the Broncos.  Ironic huh?

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2012 in Business, Life, Sports